Nigerian Mental Health Activist and inaugural Marca Bistro Fellow, Hauwa Ojeifo, is set to give the opening address at the 14th United Nations Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Founded to help actualize the implementation of the articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in party-countries, the UN COSP is an annual conference adopted in 2008 by the UN’s General Assembly in fulfillment of Article 40 of the UNCRPD which provides for the establishment of a space where state-parties can discuss the implementation of the UNCRPD.
The fourteenth annual conference, holding from the 15th — 17th June 2021, will highlight an overarching theme titled Building Back Better which is set to examine the socio-economic impact of COVID19 on persons with disabilities.
Ojeifo, who is the Founder and Executive Director of She Writes Woman Mental Health Initiative, will set the tone of the conference by giving the opening statement. As the first person living with a mental health condition to appear before the National Assembly in that capacity, Ojeifo’s work at She Writes Woman has helped highlight the realities of persons living with mental health conditions in Nigeria while empowering them to co-create solutions that address these realities. Through She Writes Woman, Ojeifo has helped train sixty persons living with mental health conditions on strategic advocacy for pursuing rights-based approaches on mental health legislation. In this vein, her work in Nigeria helps highlight the aims and objectives of the COSP.
With the sub-themes of the conference exploring the rights of persons with disabilities and in-clusivity for persons with disabilities, Ojeifo will address all one hundred and sixty-three (163) signatories to the CRPD and the UN General Assembly, setting the tone for the three-day event. Ojeifo will join big wigs like the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Gutteres who opens the Conference with a statement of his own every year.
The event will be streamed live on YouTube from the 15th to the 17th of June for anyone interested in catching the discussions.